Two unidentified men in Surat on Sunday threw acid at one of the witnesses in the rape case against the self-styled godman Asaram, police said. This is a third attack targeting a witness in the rape cases against Asaram and his son. “A witness in the rape case against Asaram has suffered an acid attack by two men in Vesu area,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Shobha Bhutda told PTI.

“The victim has been identified as Dinesh Bhavchandani (39) who has given a statement against Asaram in the case. The incident took place when Mr. Bhavchandani was riding to his house near Vesu Royal Residency. Two men on a bike overtook him and threw acid,” she said. He was taken to a private hospital.

This is a third case of attack on a witness in rape cases against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai. Asked about police protection for the witnesses, the DCP said, “Most witnesses are given police protection, but these three victims had refused it.”

A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of repeated rapes and illegal confinement between 1997 and 2006 when she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Her younger sister has lodged a similar complaint against Narayan Sai. Asaram (72) is currently in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September 2013 for sexually assaulting a minor girl at his ashram there.